what is this?
Location:  Aberdeen, United Kingdom
September 15, 2010 8:57 am
hi there, found this bug on the ground in aberdeen, uk. found outside a university. can you help identify it?
Signature:  Lewis

Sabre Wasp

Dear Louis,
This is an Ichneumon, a Parasitic Hymenopteran that is classified with bees and wasps.  In North America, similar looking Giant Ichneumons in the genus Megarhyssa prey upon the Pigeon Horntail, a species of Wood Wasp whose larvae are found feeding on dead or dying wood.  The female Ichneumon, and your specimen is a female, can be identified by her long stingerlike ovipositor which she uses to deposit her eggs in wood that is infested with the larvae of the Pigeon Horntail.  Our hypothesis is that the UK specimen you have photographed may have a similar Wood Wasp host in Europe, but without successfully identifying the species of your Ichneumon, we cannot be certain.  We found a BBC Science and Nature page that indicates that
Rhyssa persuasoria, commonly called a Sabre Wasp, is the largest Ichneumon “fly” in Britain, and it is described as:  “Giant ichneumons have slender bodies, with a wasp waist, and long, flexible antennae. The apparently fearsome-looking sting at the end of the female wasp’s abdomen is actually an ovipositor (egg-laying instrument). This is protected within a sheath. This species has a black body with pale yellow/white markings on the abdominal segments. The legs are orange.”  Alas, there is no image, but the written description appears to fit your photograph.  Before leaving the BBC Science and Nature Page, we decided that the behavior description also needed to be included here:  “Ichneumons are parasites that lay their eggs in or on the larvae of other insects or spiders. The hosts of giant ichneumons are usually the larvae of horntails, or wood wasps (Orocerus gigas), and related species, as well as the larvae of longhorn beetles (Monochamus sutor). The female looks for hosts, which live within fallen timber. She may detect them through the smell of their droppings, which are then contaminated by fungi, or by sensing their vibrations within the wood. However she does it, the accuracy with which she locates them is remarkable. When she finds the right spot, she drives her slender ovipositor into the wood (which can be inches thick) by rotating the two halves backwards and forwards very rapidly. She lays one egg next to or on the host larvae. The whole process takes about 20-40 minutes. When the fly larvae hatches it feeds externally on the host. It overwinters and pupates in the spring before emerging from the wood. Giant ichneumons sometimes emerge in houses from furniture made from new timber. The adults are active from July-August.”  We found an image of a female depositing her eggs on the Insect Images website, and there is a strong resemblance to your specimen.  The Offwell Woodland & Wildlife Trust website has a nice photo and description.  Though the markings on your individual are not as pronounced, we are confident it is at least in the genus Rhyssa.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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September 15, 2010

Rear Frontispiece

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This is George
Location:  Northeast Ohio
September 15, 2010 7:21 pm
This guy has spent the summer vacationing in the upper left corner of our bedroom window. I dubbed him George and told him as long as he stays outside he can be my friend. I do believe he is an orb weaver, although I’ve been unable to find any orb weaver that looks quite like him.
Signature:  Lisa Insana


Hi Lisa,
While we may not be able to identify this member of the genus
Araneus to the species level, we can tell you for certain that you might want to consider renaming her Georgina or Georgette.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Horse fly (with Lady Gaga shades)
Location:Tampico, Tamaulipas, México
September 15, 2010 1:18 pm
Hi there! What a great site you have here. This is my first post, i’m a bug fan myself and i’m constantly taking pictures of different bugs and looking for their scientific names. Sometimes I cannot find them, this is one of them.
I found it outside one of my classrooms at the university. The first thing that caught me were the fantastically multicolored eyes on this (a Tabanidae, I believe), but I wanted to know If there was a more specific name to it.
I took the pictures with my cellphone, so they’re as close as I could get to this fashionista fly.
Signature:  Rexnatus

Horse Fly

Dear Rexnatus,
WE agree that this is a Horse Fly in the genus
Tabanus, but we believe attempting to identify it to the species level may be beyond our capabilities.  Perhaps a Dipterist with a specialization in Tabanidae will write in.  Once the climate gets warmer in the southern portions of North America and close to the Central American divisions, there are certain species that are not as well documented on the internet and perhaps may not even be properly identified.  Not only are the eyes on this female Horse Fly (notice the space between her eyes) quite spectacular, but she has on black leggings.  We would love it if this was a new species that could be called Tabanus rexnatus.  Maybe she is not a distinct species, but rather a southern subspecies.  In that case she could be Tabanus unidentified gaga.

Karl has some thoughts
Horse Fly from Mexico
Hi Daniel and Rexnatus
Similar color patterns of the eyes and legs appear in a number of nearctic and particularly neotropical horse flies so I can’t be absolutely certain, but this really looks like a female Striped Horse Fly (Tabanidae: Tabanus lineola). I don’t know if the species is named for those amazing eyes or the prominent white dorsal stripe on the abdomen, a feature that is unfortunately not visible on the photo posted by Rexnatus. The species is found in the eastern and southern USA, as well as the Gulf Coast of Mexico. There are numerous images on the Bugguide, and a set of photos have been posted by Thomas Shahan on flickr. The latter photos are quite spectacular and show the striking differences between the female and male eyes. Regards.  Karl

What is it?
Location:  NW Oregon
September 15, 2010 6:37 pm
We’ve lived in the same place for 20 years and never seen one of these? We found this one drowning in our pet’s water dish. It came back to life, sort of. Since then, we saw another one flying around some fire wood that we recently brought on to our property. We suspect it may have come with the wood, but have no idea what it is? Can you help us?
Signature:  Lisa E.

Wood Wasp

Hi Lisa,
This is a Wood Wasp in the genus

wasp or horney
Location:  waco, texas
September 14, 2010 9:09 pm
found this in texas
Signature:  Leona Garrett

Giant Ichnuemon

Dear Leona Garrett of Waco Texas,
We do not tolerate plagiarism or cheating from our students, and we are shocked that we may have discovered it in a letter submitted to our website.  With all the publicity currently in the press regarding the claims of a lost negative trove attributed to Ansel Adams and the possibility that the glass plates were actually taken by Uncle Earl, we are most sensitive to claims of authenticity.  Kindly explain:   How is it that this exact image that you sent to us and claim to have taken in Waco, Texas in 2010 was identified as
Megarhyssa nortoni on BugGuide after being posted by Sandy Mallet with a 2007 copyright in Warwick Massachusetts?  We eagerly await your response.